Imam S.,Endocrine Autoimmunity Unit |
Paparodis R.,Endocrine Autoimmunity Unit |
Paparodis R.,University of Wisconsin - Madison |
Sharma D.,Endocrine Autoimmunity Unit |
And 2 more authors.
Endocrine-Related Cancer | Year: 2014
Thyroid cancers are usually surrounded by a significant number of immune-reactive cells. Tumor-associated lymphocytes as well as background lymphocytic thyroiditis are frequently mentioned in pathology reports of patients who have undergone surgery for thyroid cancer. The nature of this lymphocytic reaction is not well understood. The fact that cancer can survive in this adverse microenvironment is indicative of immune regulation. We characterized the lymphocytic infiltration that accompanies thyroid cancer and compared it with that present in thyroid autoimmunity. We found that double-negative (DN) T cells were significantly more abundant in thyroid cancer than in thyroid autoimmunity. Although FOXP3C regulatory T cells were also present, DN T cells were the dominant cell type, associated with thyroid cancer. Furthermore, upon stimulation, the DN Tcells associated with cancer remained unchanged, while the few (<5%) DN T cells associated with thyroid autoimmunity increased in numbers (>20%). CD25 expression on DN T cells remained unchanged after stimulation, which indicates that the increase in the absolute number of DN T cells in thyroid autoimmunity was at the expense of inactivation of single-positive T cells. We concluded that in the setting of thyroid cancer, DN T cells appear to suppress tumor immunity. In contrast, in thyroid autoimmunity, DN T cells were barely present and only increased at the expense of inactivated, single-positive T cells upon induction. Together, these findings indicate that thyroid cancer-associated DN T cells might regulate proliferation and effector function of T cells and thereby contribute to tumor tolerance and active avoidance of tumor immunity. © 2014 Society for Endocrinology.